Curriculum: PARTICIPATING IN CLASS ACTIVITIES OF A DIFFERENT GRADE LEVEL

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Sarah:  I have a 1st grade student eligible for special education services under OHI. The student has global delays and right side impairment due to CP. The student is just beginning to hold and control a writing utensil, identifying the letters in his/her name, count 1-10, sing the ABC’s. The student is learning how to interact with peers, follow school/classroom routines, use correct book handling skills and toilet more independently.

In my building is a PreK program. The teacher has been a wonderful resource for me regarding curriculum and ideas appropriate to my student’s abilities and present levels. The teacher has generously invited my student to participate in parts of the PreK schedule….for example the singing time (alphabet, counting songs, nursery rhymes) and/or learning centers. The suggestion being 2-3 times/week for perhaps 20 mins/time.

I believe this to be a wonderful opportunity for my student to interact and engage with other children in the same content material she is working on, and additionally practice interactive play at the learning centers. This is not something she can receive in her 1st grade classroom as the content material is beyond her present abilities (reading, writing stories, adding/subtracting). She receives early literacy and numeracy learning in a special education environment.

If parents and the IEP team all agree that participating in specific activities in the PreK classroom would be beneficial to this student, is there any reason we cannot proceed?

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Sarah, To review the facts, one of your 1st grade students is functioning below grade level is many areas. A preK teacher invited your student to participate in preK activities with her class. You ask: Is there any reason why this child cannot participate in PreK activities if members of the IEP team agree?

Tough question. Answer: maybe, maybe not.

In Nov 2015, the US Dept of Ed published a new guidance on FAPE: “IEP Goals Must Be Aligned with Grade Level State Academic Content Standards

This guidance says each child with a disability must be held to high expectations and must have meaningful access to the State’s academic content standards. IEPs must be aligned with State academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled.

Your student has significant deficits. If she is is involved in preK level activities during the day, won’t this take time that could or should be used to remediate her deficits?

Please read this guidance publication. Use a highlighter. Study it. You need to understand what the U.S. Dept of Ed expects of schools and teachers. It’s not easy. But you know this. Thanks for taking the time to post your question.

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